Smash the badminton birdie with an Olympic dream  

Parvathi Benu talks to Unnati Bisht, the current Under-17 No 2 badminton player, about her dreams and aspirations

Published: 13th February 2017 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 10th February 2017 10:22 PM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Without hesitation, the 15-year-old badminton player, Unnati Bisht says, “I want to be the national champion, then the Asia champion, and finally win an Olympic gold medal in badminton.”

Currently ranked second in the Under-17 girls’ singles and doubles category by the Badminton Association of India — this dream is what propels the tenth grader through day-long coaching sessions and Board exam pressure.

Illustrations: Saai

Dedication to the sport made Unnati leave her hometown, Dehradun and head to Hyderabad for training at the Vishwamanya Badminton Academy. 

The first girl from Uttarakhand to win a national badminton singles’ medal, Unnati’s love for the sport began at the age of eight. “I used to skate when I was in grade III. There was a badminton court near the skating rink. I started watching the sport and liked it, but when I started playing the sport, I loved it,” she narrates.

At the age of 13, she won the district championship, and it’s only been uphill since then. She was even excited to play in the senior national championship that happened in Patna between February 1 to 7. 

For Unnati, her parents are her biggest inspiration, especially her mother. She recalls when she had to break her doubles partnership and wasn’t equipped to play singles either; her mother was supportive. “She would say, ‘You can do it!’ That is enough to inspire me,” she says.

One of the best moments in Unnati’s life was meeting Saina Nehwal. “I couldn’t talk to didi, but her mother told me I remind her of Saina,” she gushed.               Reach Out:

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